8:42am Friday 25th April 2014
NEWPORT will look to bring the curtain down on their season by claiming another top four Principality Premiership scalp when they host Llandovery this weekend.
They also have the great incentive of finishing above fierce rivals Cardiff, the Black and Ambers currently seventh and a point above the capital city side who entertain Bedwas.
They leapfrogged the Cardiff Arms Park men thanks to their excellent 35-22 bonus point win over reigning league champions and current top side Pontypridd at Rodney Parade on Tuesday night, a victory that will have done much to boost belief and confidence.
Newport have ended the season very well after a shaky start and they are unlucky not to be on a four-match unbeaten run, rather than just one, after a 22-22 draw robbed them of a deserved success away at Llanelli before losing in the narrowest of contests to their big rivals, high flying Cross Keys in back-to-back derbies (10-9 and 33-29).
The sterling work of their new backs coach, former Newport Gwent Dragons fly-half Craig Warlow, has not gone unnoticed, while forwards guru Dai Gray praised the work of head coach Sven Cronk in galvanising the squad and said the club are looking forward with a great deal of optimism to the future: “Since Christmas, we decided to go back and focus on the basics.
“Sven really pulled all the team together and the results started getting better.
“We’ve been unlucky in quite a few of our recent games and it was great to get the win at last against Ponty.
“It was a good game of rugby and fair play to them, they never gave up (Newport looked to run riot when they led 32-8 with over half an hour to go before Ponty rallied).”
Gray added: “We’ll look to end our season on a high against Llandovery and give our fantastic bunch of supporters another victory to cheer.
“We’ve got a good squad together now and we’ll be looking to strengthen it further for next season.”
Promising young Wales Under-20s flyer Ashton Hewitt and his teammate on the other wing Owen Broad have been in great form of late, as has full-back/centre Geraint O’Driscoll who could end the season as the Premiership’s top scorer, the former Pontypool man currently having contributed 218 points to his side this season in the league.
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